Undercover And Cover-Less: NYC's Best Dance Bars

by BILLY GRAY · October 29, 2009

It's a classic dilemma: you and your friends start your night out at a bar, get tipsy enough to think you can dance, consider heading out to a club (or warehouse) and realize you're too happy, lazy and drunk where you are to hail a cab. Lucky for you, New York's got plenty of hassle-free watering holes where people can bust a move.

-- Photo Courtesy of Nicky DigitalHome Sweet Home: 131 Chrystie Street. Home Sweet Home lives up to its name by transporting you to an unfinished suburban basement. But at least you'll have some taxidermy to admire as you move to indie rock on the bar's concrete floors.


Dark Room: 165 Ludlow Street. No longer the after-concert gig favored by bands like The Strokes and Interpol, Dark Room is now the place to dance to their music. There's some '80s cheese thrown in for good measure, just in case you haven't tired of belting along to "Don't Stop Believing."


Automatic Slims: 733 Washington Street. How this cramped postage stamp of a bar always gets people dancing is anyone's guess. But dance they do. Located just south of the club-laden Meatpacking District, Automatic Slims is a welcome alternative to the velvet ropes and bottle service that accompany dancing in the area.


Lit: 93 2nd Avenue. The last bar you would ever take your parents is the first bar you should take your dance crew. As the night progresses, Lit's two floors are taken over by happy feet rocking out to a mix of New Wave, hip-hop and electropunk. Lit's mysteriously manic energy levels partially explain its glacial bathroom lines, so relieve yourself elsewhere before getting down and dirty.

-- Mehanata: 113 Ludlow Street. The laser lights and occasional cover charge might suggest club. But, frankly, this Bulgarian clubhouse is too weird to be classified at all. You can jam out to gypsy punk, pay $20 to drink unlimited vodka in a giant freezer and sample Bulgarian cuisine, whatever that may be. Last time I was here, the night started with an impromptu basement limbo competition. Beat that, nightclubs.